Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Think I May Flee the Country

And head to Canada, for the Surrey International Writer's Conference! Didn't I just post about wanting a respectable, reputable conference in Washington State ASAP? Well, Surrey B.C. works just fine, distance-wise.

It's crossing the border that will be the sticky widget. I don't have a passport, and I don't have my enhanced driver's license (people in Washington state can get those and they'll allow you to cross the Canadian border like a passport would. I bet other border states offer those too, but I don't know).

I miss the days when I could (and did) flit up to Canada on a whim, crossing the border with wild abandon. That's how I saw Eek-a-Mouse (and got the biggest contact high EVER when my friend and I were invited backstage -actually downstage, I guess, the backstage area was a basement.). Nobody smokes pot like a Jamacian reggae band. I mean NOBODY. Vancouver is also where I saw my first ever actual live prostitutes, and learned that when the prettiest girl on the block is holding an umbrella even though its not raining, then that means she's a dude. (And yes, she was better looking than nearly every actual female prostitute out there in Gastown.) I had some fun times in Canada in my teens and early twenties. I haven't been in ages though. My spouse and I have never been, and we've been married 11 years. We've talked about going to the aquarium up there with the girls, we hear its amazing, but its never been a serious enough discussion to actually do anything about getting the right post-September 11th travel documents.

My husband used to have a passport (he lived in Iceland for a few years, and was quite the globetrotter when he was in his twenties) but he forgot that it was expiring and failed to renew it, so now he practically has to start over - his process won't be as difficult as mine, having already had a passport, but it's still a pain in the ass that he doesn't have time for, considering we have no international travel planned for the foreseeable future.

But now this conference has come up and I really really really want to go. To get an enhanced driver's license, I need several things: 1. a copy of my birth certificate. Ordered. From the east coast. I paid for fast shipping. We'll see how long it actually takes. 2. A copy of my marriage certificate, since the name on my birth cert and my current name differ. Got it. 3. My SSN. Got it. 4. A utility bill with my name on it. Might have it. We just moved to the new location in July, and I honestly don't know whose name the utilities are in. I think the gas is in my name but everthing else is in my husband's. When we moved this last time I was really really busy with life stuff, so the husband took care of all the little things regarding the move. The gas just had to be switched to a new address, it was the same company we had in Seattle, so I think it remained in my name, but I'm pretty sure all the rest of it is in his.

So anyway! I will probably have all the materials I need within about 2 weeks. So then I have to drag my ass to one of 14 offices statewide that actually issue enhanced drivers licenses to apply. I have to go first thing in the morning, because there are a limited number of appointments, and they are only available on a first come/first served basis. Then, the actual license takes a week and a half or so to issue. So if I am lucky, I will be able to legally cross the border by the date of the conference.

If I am not legally able to do so by that time, perhaps I will smuggle myself in by hiding in the back of a Jamaican reggae band's van under a heavy curtain of pot smoke. "Do you have anything to declare?" they will ask. "No. No we do not," they will answer.

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